Milan - Sanremo 2005
Alessandro Petacchi temporized an instant, just like bending a bow, just to express an exalting progression, annihilating all the adversaries and dominating a race so long dreamed of winning.
It was an unusual sprint in Sanremo, without any peloton-stretching “train”, starting from a relatively low speed, riders fighting hard for positions in the heaving group.
Mario Cipollini, who was able to pass both Cipressa and Poggio with seeming relative ease, found himself without cover with 400 m to go and got quickly swallowed by the group, giving up the final sprint.
Mario, with a body weight of 82 kg, prefers fast-launched volata’s: his big size makes every sharp acceleration very expensive.
Petacchi found himself in the front, alone, with 300 m to the finish line, on the left side of the road: he slowed down a bit looking over his right shoulder and as soon as Danilo Hondo started the sprint, he produced a lethal acceleration, as if thrown by a sling.
Once again a bunch sprint was decisive in Sanremo.
It happened 7 times in the last 9 years: only Tchmil and Bettini were the exception.
More than 7 hours of riding and a very high tempo both on Cipressa (9’30”, a new record) and Poggio (6’02”) were not enough to eliminate the most prepared sprinters.
Indeed Petacchi, 2-3 kg lighter than last year, showed such great improvements in his climbing that to label him as “sprinter” is in my opinion a bit oversimplifying.
Alessandro’s sprints after all are not so explosive, but rather irresistible progressions which are only possible with impressive aerobic power.